Antibiotics, despite being vitally important in multifarious conditions, are not always the answer for colds and flu. They work only when bacterial infections are present, for those with bronchitis, etc. They do not work against viral infections and, indeed, are frequently less than useful when given in such circumstances as they kill both friendly and unfriendly bacteria, leaving people vulnerable to thrush and bowel problems.
Overuse of antibiotics has additionally created an ever-growing number of bacteria that are immune to them, threatening doctors’ ability to treat serious illness. The emergence of superbugs – pathogens with a resistance to antimicrobial drugs – was firmly linked to the overuse and misuse of antibiotics in a report of the Standing Medical Advisory Committee.
Fortunately, for those anxious to avoid excessive antibiotic prescription, the herb Echinacea purpurea, in the form of fresh herbal extract, Echinaforce, has been licensed to protect and treat colds, influenza type infections and similar upper respiratory tract infections.
Echinaforce works by increasing the efficiency of the immune reaction, making the body more able to identify and kill off invading bacteria and viruses. Taken prophylactically, it acts as a preventative to ward off infections or it can tackle infections already present.
One of the many benefits of taking Echinacea for a cold and in viral infections is that it stimulates the immune system to attack any invading virus rather than a specific one, making it effective even when viruses mutate. One of the problems of flu vaccinations is that they target a specific virus, often last year’s model, leaving the patient still vulnerable to the plethora of this year’s new viruses.
Unlike antibiotics, Echinacea does not have undesirable side effects, such as destroying friendly bowel flora. In fact, Echinacea has anti-fungal properties allowing it to kill off unfriendly organisms such as those causing thrush, whilst promoting the growth of friendly bacteria and bowel flora.
In addition, add a regular dose of vitamin C to your cold prevention package. Vitamin C stimulates the production of white blood cells and mops up unfriendly free radicals that do damage to body tissues. The body cannot absorb large doses of this vitamin at one time, so take a low dose several times a day for better protection. If you live or work in a polluted environment, this will be even more necessary.
Helping the natural detoxification processes of the body throughout the year can, also make a great difference.
A healthy diet is a first step: making sure you don’t overload your system with rich foods, too much alcohol and an overindulgence in fine cheeses will go a long way towards lessening the toxic load.
You can help your body to cleanse throughout the year by regularly drinking nettle tea and including ginger in your diet. Ginger is a wonderful blood tonic, warming and cleansing the tissues. Ginger is also anti-inflammatory, and can be made into ginger tea by pouring boiling water over some chopped fresh ginger and add a squeeze of lemon juice and some honey.
Nettle tea or tincture will also help clear acidic wastes from your tissues, leaving less debris for the body to tackle by other means. It is nutritive too: iron, vitamin C, calcium and many other minerals are found in its leaves